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Implementation - UNESCO IHE Institute for Water Education

The Challenge

Water shortages are cropping up around the world – from Australia to South Africa, from Brazil to the Sahel. Many of the world’s mightiest rivers run dry before reaching the sea. Perhaps half th ...

Water shortages are cropping up around the world – from Australia to South Africa, from Brazil to the Sahel. Many of the world’s mightiest rivers run dry before reaching the sea. Perhaps half the world’s wetlands have been damaged or destroyed in the past century as salt water has displaced fresh water. These facts are striking, in view of the fact that the world’s population withdraws less than a tenth of the water that falls to the ground and that – unlike our fossil fuels – the world’s water supplies cannot be used up.

The UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education was established in 2003. It carries out research, education and capacity building activities in the fields of water, environment and infrastructure. UNESCO-IHE continues the work that began in 1957 when IHE first offered a postgraduate diploma course in hydraulic engineering to practicing professionals from developing countries.

The Institute based in Delft, the Netherlands, is owned by all UNESCO member states. It is established as a UNESCO 'category I' institute jointly by UNESCO and the Government of the Netherlands.

The Institute is the largest water education facility in the world, and the only institution in the UN system authorized to confer accredited MSc degrees.

Whilst UNESCO-IHE is prominently involved in its own research and education on the Delft premises, it is also instrumental in strengthening the efforts of other universities and research centers throughout the world, which increase the knowledge and skills of professionals working in their respective water sectors.

The member states of UNESCO have access to the knowledge and services of UNESCO-IHE in human and institutional capacity building, which is vital in their efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (Agenda 21) and other global water objectives.

Vision and mission

UNESCO IHE Institute for Water EducationUNESCO-IHE envisages a world in which people manage their water and environmental resources in a sustainable manner, and in which all sectors of society, particularly the poor, can enjoy the benefits of basic services.

The mandate given by UNESCO to IHE is to

  • strengthen and mobilize the global educational and knowledge base for integrated water resources management; and
  • contribute to meeting the water-related capacity building needs of developing countries and countries in transition.

 

Within this mandate, the mission of the Institute is to

  • contribute to the education and training of professionals and to build the capacity of sector organizations, knowledge centers and other institutions active in the fields of water, the environment and infrastructure in developing countries and countries in transition.

 

The functions of the Institute include

  • serving as an international standard-setting body for postgraduate water education programs and continuing professional training;
  • building human and institutional capacities through education, training and research;
  • setting up and managing networks of educational and water sector institutions and organizations worldwide;
  • functioning as a ‘policy forum’ for UNESCO member states and other stakeholders; and
  • providing advice on water education to partner organizations and other members of the UN water family.

 

Beneficiaries and clients

UNESCO-IHE provides a wide range of services to a variety of target groups in developing countries and countries in transition:

  • education, training and research—for water sector professionals, engineers, scientists, consultants and decision-makers working in the water, environment and infrastructure sectors;
  • water sector capacity building—for water sector ministries and departments, municipalities, water boards and water utilities, universities, training and research institutes, industries, nongovernmental and private sector organizations;
  • partnership building and networking—among knowledge centers, public and private sector organizations;
  • standard setting for education and training—for water-related institutions, universities and other education and training agencies in the water sector;
  • policy forum on water—for UNESCO member states and other stakeholders.


UNESCO-IHE's products and services include the development of postgraduate education programs, tailor-made training courses, institutional capacity building programs, research & development, policy development and advisory services in the fields of water, environment and infrastructure, focusing on human resources and institutional development in developing countries and countries in transition.

One of the comparative strengths of UNESCO-IHE is its solution-oriented focus, while maintaining a balance between engineering and other scientific disciplines.

Since its foundation as a Dutch institute in 1957, the Institute has graduated more than 14,500 individuals from 163 countries at the MEng and MSc levels and over 100 at the PhD level.

Approximately 98% of the Institute's graduates return to their countries of origin to assume positions of responsibility. UNESCO-IHE regards its alumni as ambassadors, enabling the Institute to maintain access to and involvement with client governments.

Source:  http://www.unesco-ihe.org/About/Introduction-to-UNESCO-IHE

Article by Jacob Hughes, published on Devex.com on 4 January 2011, http://www.devex.com/en/news/71922/print

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